My mother loves tabbouleh. And given how healthy it is, it’s not such a bad food to love. Except that she made it a lot. As in, after I moved out, I avoided it at all costs. I’d grown up with a tabbouleh overload.
When I did eventually come back around to tabbouleh, I found if I tweaked the recipe a bit, I liked it a lot more. The classic combination of lemon, parsley and garlic on cracked wheat is good, but it can be so much more. It can be different and inspired. And you don’t have to bring the same version to every backyard barbecue.
I like to start by swapping out the traditional cracked bulgur wheat base for a different whole grain, such as farro, spelt, kamut, barley or even brown rice. For this recipe, I used green lentils, which are packed with nutrients, low in fat, and high in fiber and protein. Plus, they have a subtle flavor, perfect for a salad with plenty of other robust flavors.
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 cups dry green or French lentils
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes.
Use a mesh strainer to drain the lentils, then spread them in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the parsley, thyme, oregano, garlic, celery, olives and red pepper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Drizzle the dressing over the herbs and vegetables, then mix thoroughly. Once the lentils have cooled (they don’t need to be chilled, just no longer hot), add to the bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the almonds over the top.
Nutrition information per serving: 180 calories; 45 calories from fat (25 percent of total calories); 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 11 g protein; 160 mg sodium.By ALISON LADMAN - The Associated Press